DWP ESA Medical Examinations


Advice for patients undergoing the DWP ESA Atos Healthcare medical examination or assessment.

This page is published in the public domain and is uncopyrighted. Feel free to copy. See Copyleft (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/)

This website provides information on how Atos runs its business, extracts from the Contract between the DWP and Atos including the MEDICAL CONDITIONS that mean a face to face medical assessment is not always necessary, ASSESSMENTS AND POINTS, the breaches of Contract that occurred in my case, my unsound medical report and the correspondence showing how difficult it is to obtain justice or advice.

The Government is inviting the public to submit petitions. Search epetitions.direct.gov.uk for "DWP" or "Atos" or "disabled" to list relevant petitions including Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968).

Other ongoing petitions are Petition against constant vilification of sick and disabled claimants and Petition to "Sack Atos Immediately" .

The DWP occasionally consults the public http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/.

DWP ESA Medical Examinations

This information is based on my first hand experience of the DWP ESA procedure and in particular relates to the abuse I was subject to by Atos Healthcare. I have published my extensive correspondence with the DWP, with Atos and others. I hope others can learn from my experience.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against Atos for making misleading claims and not being able to substantiate claims. The DWP paid Atos over £147 million in the financial year 2010-2011. The Government continues to award Atos new contracts.

Extracts and commentary on these two documentaries broadcast on the same day in July 2012. The broadcast was made during the height of the biggest London sporting event since 1948 and 1908. Did someone think this was a great time to bury negative news?

My Case

In April 2009 I was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour about the size of a golf ball. The size of the tumour increased to that of a small orange. In October 2010 I was an acute admission for a biopsy. The results rated the brain tumour as "WHO grade III". I was in hospital for sixteen days to address the symptoms. I received six weeks of radio-therapy which ended in December 2010. The size and intensity of the tumour was reduced. I have an MRI scan every four months and the tumour is currently stable. Medication keeps other symptoms under control. My NHS treatment has been excellent.

My first contract with Atos was in May 2009. In breach of contract Atos forced me to attend their medical assessment. Atos lied to me and defamed me by libel. The report for use by the DWP produced by Atos was fiction. The report resulted in the DWP decision that I was work capable. The situation in April 2012 is that the matter is now with the Independent Case Examiner.

Atos are a disreputable company. Be warned.

Atos Healthcare

I submitted evidence, published here, to various inquiries of the "The House of Commons, Works and Pensions Committee" and to various consultations of the DWP.

On 2 July 2009 "The House of Commons, Works and Pensions Committee" announced an inquiry "Decision making and appeals in the benefits system". I submitted evidence to this Inquiry. I had high hopes. I thought my case was an exception. I was wrong.

The DWP and Atos provide little detailed information to claimants. The Freedom of Information Act backed up by the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act (Disability Discrimination Act) have allowed individuals to find the information important to claimants. As more information is published fewer claimants are denied.

It is clear from my correspondence that the DWP approach is to "deny, delay, and defend" and by delaying claims increases the likelihood that the claimant will give up.

Atos exploits a "non medical" model for assessing medical conditions. This has been described as pseudo-science hokum.

The Inquiry published a report in Spring 2010 and included the following.

  • "Poor decision making not only costs the Department ...and costs claimants in under-payments, but generated more costs further down the line in reconsiderations and appeals."

  • "We are particularly concerned that the Department doesn't appear to take scrutiny of the decision making and appeals system seriously enough."

  • "Many claimants will be deterred from an appeal by an unsuccessful request for a reconsideration...may miss out on benefits to which they should be entitled."

  • "It is unacceptable that, despite the Government committing to publishing a report by the Secretary of State ...on ..decision making standards... annually...the most recent report was published.in 2006 and only covered the 2002-2003 period."

I commend the memorandum submitted by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

I am not against the principle of outsourcing healthcare or other services to commercial companies as long as the services provided are as good as or better than those currently provided and only if there is a cost advantage. Given the level of complaints and appeals, a reasonable person would conclude that the quality of services provided by Atos Healthcare needs to improve. I was caused actual harm by the actions of Atos Healthcare. It appears that there are many others patients and carers in the same position.

Welfare Reform Act 2007

In November 2001, there was a Labour conference near Oxford on 'Malingering and Illness Deception'. It was attended by Malcolm Wicks, the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work, and Mansel Aylward, his Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). Unum (previously UnumProvident) was the driving force and was represented by John LoCascio. Unum in 2002 in the US faced a multi-million class action lawsuit for operating "disability denial factories". In January 2003, a California jury reached a 1.7 million USD settlement against UnumProvident and two years later, the California Department of Insurance fined the company 8 million USD because it "misinterpreted job classifications, improperly overruled doctors' opinions and knowingly used incorrect insurance definitions to avoid paying benefits". Other states received compensation from Unum. Unum allocated between 325m USD and 415m USD to cover the likely costs.

The work of this 2001 Labour conference resulted in the UK Welfare Reform Act. Unum helped to draw up the rules and regulations. UnumProvident Centre provides funding for Psychosocial and Disability Research based at Cardiff University. The Director of the Centre is Professor Mansel Aylward.

A medical examination is required by the Welfare Reform Act 2007 as part of the sections that relate to the payment of Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

The Welfare Reform Act 2007 is an Act to make provision about social security.

It amends the earlier The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) (General) Regulations 1995.

It is not clear that it was the intent of Parliament that lesser standards should apply to these medical examinations compared to those carried out by the NHS. A reading of Hansard suggests that it was the intent of Parliament that standards should be as good as or better than those carried out by the NHS.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has contracted out services to Atos Healthcare. Atos Healthcare in a written reply has stated that "...the examining practioner would not have access to a customer's NHS medical patient history". Atos Healthcare has stated in a written reply to the Health and Safety Executive (case reference 4177247) that "...The Medical Examination Centre assesses people's functional ability through consultation, discussion and simple physical tests(e.g. reflex)...".

The state has a duty of care to the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. The DWP is the customer of Atos Healthcare. People undertaking medical examinations are claimants or patients not customers. It appears that individuals within the DWP are reluctant to enforce the Contract between the DWP and Atos Origin. In my case Atos provided three separate unsound medical assessments to the DWP. As far as is known they have not as yet refunded the UK taxpayers for their unsound medical assessments.


The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has released statistics in respect of ESA medical examinations. The figures seem to suggest out of 189,800 assessed, 130,500 were found fit for work.

ESA Statistics (PDF format) (http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca/esa_wca_13102009.pdf).

It is difficult to imagine how an Atos Healthcare medical examination is able to assess the capabilities of those with primary brain tumours, progressive cancers undergoing therapies, mental illnesses, addictions and musclo-skeletal disorders.

The statistics are unclear on the medical conditions of those denied allowances. The National Autistic Society in October 2009 revealed that 100,000 people with Autism out of 300,000 are living with no job and no allowances. The effect on patients and their carers who have been denied allowances does not appear in the statistics.

There are statistics from the National Audit Office from 2003.

"...The Department have taken important steps to improve the quality of decision-making and appeals, but they need to do more to get decisions right first time and put right errors without the need for customers to go to an appeal tribunal...."

"...more than a fifth of the Department of Work and Pensions thousands of decisions each day on benefits contain errors..."

ESA Medical Examination - Tort of Negligence

The tort of negligence is a wrongful act against an individual. Liability can be based on a breach of statutory duty. The motive of the defendant is generally irrelevant.

There is statutory and case law that suggests that DWP, and through them Atos Healthcare, has a duty of care to patients subject to the actions defined by the Welfare Reform Act 2007.

An ESA application form is expected to be written by the patient or their carer both unlikely to be medical experts. In completing this form it is important, if appropriate, to ask the assessor to check with the GP and or consultants who have access to the patient's full NHS medical history. Where subjective opinion is asked, emphasise that as a patient this is a best guess.

When you first complete the ESA form, you should provide a cover letter requesting the name of the "qualified" healthcare professional who will review the information that you have provided. You need to know who is responsible for deciding whether a face to face meeting is necessary. You can inform the DWP that you may wish to independently check with the GMC that the individual is qualified.

You should insist that the "qualified" healthcare professional provides you in writing the medical reasons why they feel a face to face meeting is essential. You can inform the DWP that you may wish to independently check with the GMC that the medical reasons are consistent with medical best practice.

Where appropriate, you should stress to the DWP that in order for a valid assessment to be made a "qualified" healthcare professional should contact your GP and or Consultants.

If you think you are entitled to the allowance you should stress that the DWP should pay the allowance immediately and not wait for the DWP to find out the name of the "qualified" healthcare professional.

It is likely you will be harassed by the Atos Healthcare appointments clerks. You should politely but firmly inform them that you are waiting for the DWP to provide you with the information you have requested. You can email Atos Healthcare Customer Relations (customer-relations@atoshealthcare.com). Keep copies of all correspondence. Never use the phone as you need to create a paper trail that could be used in the High Court.

I have published all my correspondence, see the links at the top of this page. The following extract demonstrates the attitude of Atos Healthcare in using "qualified" healthcare professionals.

... Mrs T... is a Nurse and/or Midwife. She is not qualified in Neuro-science, Neuro-surgery or Neurology. She is not qualified in the pathology or treatment of a primary brain tumour. She alone assessed the information provided by the DWP and decided that a face to face meeting was necessary. She alone received my letter of the 28 June 2009 and in spite of the medical evidence provided in that letter still insisted that a face to face meeting was necessary. She requested the Cardiff office to arrange the assessment which occurred at the Highgate Office. She alone decided that the contractual requirement of "travel time under 90 minutes" should not be complied with. Her work was not reviewed or checked by her manager or others responsible for quality, audit and compliance...

In my case the nurse or midwife was not medically qualified to assess my medical condition. Even with my lay knowledge of medicine I find it hard to think of many medical conditions where a nurse or midwife is qualified to make an ESA assessment. The good news is the General Medical Council is not at all keen on individuals or organisations who bring medicine into disrepute. Remember a nurse or midwife knows it is a serious offence to misrepresent their qualifications as equivalent to that of a doctor. Doctors know it is a serious offence to misrepresent their qualifications to cover specialities outside their knowledge and experience. A Disability Analyst Doctor is unlikely to be qualified to assess a patient with a brain tumour.

If a patient at some time has served in the military or in the emergency services then it is likely that an assessment cannot be made in isolation without reference to a consultant who deals with trauma related illnesses. It is unlikely that a nurse or midwife would have these qualifications and so any assessment made by such an unqualified individual is likely to be invalid and illegal. In some circumstances it may be possible to make a case that a libel has occurred.

I have a degree in Electrical Engineering. This does not qualify me to assess the situation when a bridge falls down (civil engineering), or when a chemical process blows up (chemical engineering), or if a RSJ fails (mechanical engineering) or if an IT application fails (software engineering). Actually I can do the IT application because I am an expert in both electrical and software engineering.

If a patient needs to use the toilet frequently and Atos Healthcare has scheduled the appointment located far away and the patient has mentioned this fact in the ESA form, it could be argued that Atos Healthcare could reasonably foresee that harm will be caused to the patient.

Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks Co (1856). A breach of duty occurs if the defendant:

... fails to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do; or does something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.

Haley v London Electricity Board (1965). The degree of care to be exercised by the defendant may be increased if the claimant is very young, old or less able-bodied in some way.

Would a reasonable man ask a patient to travel long distances if they have been told of their need to frequently visit the toilet? Atos Heathcare state in their literature a journey time of ninety minutes one way. Nevertheless a duty of care means the needs of the patient have to be considered.

When a patient attends the medical examination if the certified healthcare professional is not qualified to undertake the examination then the assessment is not likely to be valid. The ESA form should have been screened by a competent medical expert and either an appointment is deferred indefinitely or a competent medical expert is scheduled to undertake the appointment.

I have a brain tumour. My GP can do nothing for me. My neurologist is trying to stabilise the debillitating side effects of the anti-fit medicine. My neuro surgeon wants to wait and see how fast the tumour is growing. The ESA form confirmed this information. The facts were repeated in a letter before the appointment.

After a valid medical examination the possible results are:-

1. Allowance denied assumed "fit for work".

2. Allowance approved with work related interviews.

3. Allowance approved with further interviews deferred indefinitely.

It is important to obtain from Atos Healthcare the name of the Health Care Professional who reviewed the information provided and decided a face to face meeting was necessary. It is important to obtain from Atos Healthcare the name of the Health Care Professional who undertook the medical examination. The Contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare sets out detailed medical recruitment standards e.g. Schedule 4, Section 4.1 Part 2, 1. General, 1.1 Medical Recruitment Standards, paragraph states "...fully registered, without restrictions or conditions, on the Principal List of the General Medical Council; and in addition...". The GMC can confirm if the Health Care Professional is qualified.

In all cases it is very important to request a full copy of the medical report from the DWP. You should ask your GP and or consultants to comment. If necessary refer the matter to the Care Quality Commission (http://www.cqc.org.uk/) or to the General Medical Council (http://www.gmc-uk.org/) or to the Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) (http://www.pals.nhs.uk/) or to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/).

It should be noted that the position of the Care Quality Commission, GMC and PALS is likely to be that the implementation of Government policy by the DWP is outside their remit as the principal function is to provide medical advice to assist decision makers. There is no requirement to offer care or treatment unless an emergency arises during the consultation.

I wrote to the BMA and in their reply they state "...While we cannot comment on individual cases the BMA does have concerns regarding the use of non-doctors by the Department of Work and Pensions and Atos Healthcare to assess patients for benefits claims. We are seeking a meeting to discuss these issues with Atos...."

The DWP has set an arbitrary time limit for a patient to appeal the results of an assessment. The patient should ask the DWP to defer the start of this period until they have provided the patient with a copy of the medical report. The patient should further request that in the meantime the allowance should be paid and further interviews deferred. Do not be alarmed as months go by. My appointment was in July. My request letter was in August. At the end of November I finally received a printed copy of my report. There was no cover letter. There was no explanation for the delays.

I wrote a letter dated 9 October 2009 to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Minister for Disabled People replied in a letter dated 28 October 2009. He specifically stated that information provided by patients would be screened to decide whether a face to face examination is required.

ESA Medical Examination - Practical Matters

The first thing you will notice when you attend a medical examination centre is the atmosphere of menance and oppression. You are asked for identification. My NHS prescription charges exemption card was accepted. You are kept waiting. In my case forty minutes after the time the appointment was due to start.

A very sick young girl arrived five minutes after the fifteen minutes allowed for being late. Her carer was still trying to park. She had struggled to get upstairs on her own. Parking places are not provided. She was treated without compassion. Her appointment was cancelled even though all appointments, by that time, were running at least thirty minutes late. She asked if she could make a new appointment there and then. She was refused. She was told not that they could not do this but that they would not do this. She was told to go home and ring the appointment centre.

One reason Atos Healthcare was awarded the contract by the DWP was that they claimed to have expertise in IT services. A reasonable person might question why staff who presumably can access a central appointments booking system behaves in such an unhelpful manner.

Remember the harsh and unwarranted treatment of the patient is not personal. The staff are only obeying instructions. The staff are told to consider people as customers not as patients. The staff may not be on the pay scales or conditions that are typical in NHS establishments.

Do not forget to ask for a travel expenses form. Do not fill it out there and then as it is likely to be be lost by Atos Heathcare. Take it home, fill it out, take a copy and send it in. It will take weeks to be paid. Having experienced at first hand how poor Atos Heathcare operations are, I would not give them my bank details. Let them send you a cheque is probably the safest way.

Your medical examination will consist of a clerk typing in the information you supplied in the ESA form and a few simple physical tests. If you can, record the meeting.

I felt this Kafkaesque process was a unwarranted approach to be used against the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. It does additional harm to the patient as the patient is lured into a false belief that, as this is a medical procedure, it will benefit the patient. When realisation eventually dawns, disbelief, disgust and anger are a natural consequence of seeing ill people kicked while they are down.

I was so weak I nearly fainted under the Tube. I was seriously ill for four days. It took weeks to recover my strength because of the actions of Atos Healthcare.

Despite complaints and appeals, you may still be ordered to attend "work" meetings. You should reply to each request made in error with an additional complaint. If you do feel strong enough do point out you are a patient not a customer. The DWP is the customer. You are a patient covered by the state duty of care.

You can email Atos Healthcare Customer Relations (customer-relations@atoshealthcare.com).

I never use the phone as there is no paper trail that may be used in any future legal action in the High Court. I have used this email address for changing appointments, complaints, appeals etc. I do sent a first class letter each time.

It is very likely that you will receive an email reply which contains a phrase such as: "I am afraid the Customer Relations Team are unable to cancel an appointment on your behalf...". For a firm that boasts IT skills it is very reluctant to rely on its own IT. Maybe this is a sales opportunity for one of the other big five IT services firms in Europe to sell a computer scheduling application to Atos Healthcare.

You can then email them again:

"I would like to formally complain that you have taken no action on my request in my email dated .... to cancel the appointment scheduled for ... In line with your "Caring About Customer Service" I expect within "2 working days" a letter acknowledging my complaint and a full response to my complaint within 20 working days. Please ensure my allowances are paid in full while this matter is being considered and ensure that no further appointments are scheduled."

It is likely that you will not receive a reply so after two days email again:

"I would like to formally complain that ....".

You will get the appointment letter to phone and another one which sets the appointment date and time and perhaps another one and perhaps another one. Complain as above to each one.

First you will be dealt with by a Customer Relations Manager. Eventually you request your complaint to be dealt with by "The Independent Tier". This is refused.

You will then be dealt with by the Team Leader, Customer Relations who will always claim there are new matters to be reviewed and as such it is too early for the matter to be reviewed by "The Independent Tier". Eventually you request your complaint to be dealt with by "The Independent Tier". This is repeatedly refused.

Remember you are not allowed to complain through the DWP procedure and a legally appointed tribunal until you have exhausted the Atos Healthcare complaints procedure or die in the attempt.

You will then be dealt with by the Senior Medical Advisor. This is as far as I have got so far (it is coming up to six months).... Now at the end of November 2009, at long last, I have received my medical report. Use the link at the top of this page to read the report. You can judge for yourself whether the DWP or Atos Healthcare had something to hide. I believe it was the personal intervention of the Secretary of State that allowed my medical report to be released to me.

I expect I will next be dealt with by the Chief Medical Advisor and may be the Board of Directors. Perhaps these "people" will contribute to my funeral expenses.

If the matter comes to a High Court, it is likely that a judge will review whether the actions of parties are reasonable. Your job is to produce hard evidence that supports your case if the case ever goes first to a tribunal and then, if necessary, to the High Court. While there is still an independent judiciary it is likely as now the DWP will lose case after case after case.

If you read the above, true verifiable account, surely there is sufficient evidence for the Attorney General to see if under Administrative Law, an abuse of process is taking place. Is there a case for Judicial Review? Is the National Audit Office happy that the DWP is receiving value for money?

I know this is very very hard for a patient and their carer. The patient is ill. The patient is tired. In my case I was so tired I just wanted to roll over and die. But remember there are people less fortunate than you. Remember the joyful face of the Secretary of State announcing how many people have given up the process of claiming ESA. Remember why statistics are not produced of the medical conditions of the people denied allowances. Remember why statistics are not produced of the numbers of valiant ex-servicemen who are denied allowances.

DWP and Atos Healthcare - Medical Services Contract

On the 14th October 2009, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I requested a copy of the Contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare. Ms Michelle Munro, the DWP's Medical Services Contract Management Team Freedom of Information Officer, supplied a copy dated 15 March 2005 on the 10th November 2009 having first removed sections under Sections 40 and 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The sections not supplied cover third party personal information or are sections deemed commercially sensitive whose release would prejudice the interests of Atos Healthcare and the DWP's future dealings with Atos Healthcare or other service providers.

The partial copy supplied was around 500 double sided A4 sheets. I requested that the copy was made available online. This part of my request was not addressed.

Email: Ms Michelle Munro, Freedom of Information Officer (Michelle.Munro@dwp.gsi.gov.uk).

This is the address and phone listed in letters from January 2010.

  • Address: DWP Medical Services Contract Management Team, Room 306, North Fylde Central Office, Norcross, Blackpool FY5 3TA.

  • Phone: 01253 611552

This is the address and phone listed in letters prior to January 2010.

  • Address: DWP Medical Services Contract Management Team, Government Buildings, Spur B 1Cop Lane, Penwortham, Preston PR1 0SA.

  • Phone: 01772 405955

The Contract defines "Customer" as a representative of the DWP. It defines "Claimant(s)" "means any person claiming or having claimed entitlement to the receipt of benefits...".

The Contract is very clear in respect of medical matters. Schedule 4 is very detailed. A patient needs to be assured that the Health Care Professionals who carry out the processes required by the Welfare Reform Act are qualified. The following phrases, or similar, in a letter or email assists all parties to have confidence in Atos Healthcare.

Please can you provide me with the name of the Health Care Professional who reviewed the information provided and decided a face to face meeting was necessary in my case.

Please can you provide me with the name of the Health Care Professional who undertook my medical examination.

I refer you to the the Contract between the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos Healthcare, in particular Schedule 4, Section 4.1 Part 2, 1. General, 1.1 Medical Recruitment Standards. Please can you confirm that the use of the above Health Care Professionals by Atos Healthcare complies with paragraph in that, at the time they carried out the above actions, they were "...fully registered, without restrictions or conditions, on the Principal List of the General Medical Council; and in addition...". Please provide me with sufficient information that I can independently check these facts with the GMC.

I refer you to the above Contract, in particular Schedule 4, Section 4.1 Part 2, 5. Medical Quality Assurance. For each of the above Health Care Professional, please can you supply me with a copy of the information Atos Healthcare is contractually obliged to hold in respect of 5.1. "Systems for recording ...".

In retrospect, I would ask for the above information in writing at the first stage when contacted to agree an appointment.

The Contract defines "Treat Official Correspondence" which means correspondence issued by a Claimant to a Government Minister. I believe, based on my personal experience, claimants who write or email their MP with an attached letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions are treated with more consideration.

Before (in an email): "...I am afraid that the Customer Relations Team are unable to cancel an appointment on your behalf ..."

After (in a letter):"...Thank you for your letter of 8th October 2009, which was received in this office on 12th October..."

The Contract states service levels including the 2 days and 20 days in the Atos literature which every time, in my case, Atos Healthcare failed to meet. The Contract states Atos Healthcare has to pay for all "rework". Clearly I want the National Audit Office to ensure that Atos Heathcare is not paid for services not delivered. Claimants who feel they have not been dealt with in line with the Contract should email their MP to ask them to confirm that Atos Healthcare have not been paid for the services that they have been received.

Atos Healthcare - Influence

Atos Healthcare is a member of a number of organisations that attempt to influence Government. For background reading see my overview of Atos Origin. (http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpbusiness.html) and search on the page for "Aylward", "Black", "Unum" and "Fit For Work".

Civil servants have to follow a code of practice. See http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/conduct-ethics/civil-service.aspx. In particular the code covers activities of lobbyists. See http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/conduct-ethics/civil-service/lobbyists-guidance.aspx.

...Civil servants should conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. They should not deceive or knowingly mislead Parliament or the public. They should not misuse their official position or information acquired in the course of their official duties to further their private interests or the private interests of others. They should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgement or integrity....

The principles of public life set down by the Nolan Committee in its first report in 1995 are also relevant...

Atos Origin are active in the following.

Commercial Occupational Health Providers held their 2009 AGM & Conference on Thursday 17th September 2009, Atos Healthcare, Regent's Place, London

COHPA were delighted to entertain a packed house at both occasions, with over 150 guests throughout the day overall.

Guests included:

  • Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, HWWB
  • Mark Bounds, COHPA Chairman from Atos Origin
  • Professor Mansel Aylward, Director, Unum CPDR
  • Diana Kloss, Chair, UK Council for Occupational Health
  • Graeme Henderson, Head of Health and Work, Department of Health
  • Dr Bill Gunnyeon, Chief Medical Adviser, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Noel O'Reilly, Editor, OH [Magazine]
  • Cynthia Atwell, Chair, RCN Public Health Forum, RCN
  • Jeremy Smith, President, AOHNP (UK)
  • Dr Steve Boorman, Director Corporate Responsibility, Royal Mail
  • Dr John Osman, Chief Medical Adviser, HSE

For the black tie 5th Anniversary Dinner over 100 Members and Guests celebrated with COHPA at the Armourer's Hall. Mark Bounds, COHPA Chairman from Atos Orgin was the host. Prof. Mansel Aylward gave the keynote address. COHPA Board past and present were there. Dr Geoff Helliwell (Founder Director) and Graeme Henderson, Department of Health were honoured guests.

Photos were supplied by Duncan Soar Photography (www.duncansoar.com/Cohpa).

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (www.facoccmed.ac.uk) of the Royal College of Physicians (www.rcplondon.ac.uk) is another area through which Atos Origin operates. "We are also most grateful to sponsors Serco and Atos Healthcare for their support of the Faculty's 30th Anniversary celebration at the House of Lords in March 2009." The most recent Faculty Annual report (www.facoccmed.ac.uk/library/docs/annrep09.pdf) is for 2009.

In legal cases, it is useful to consider what a reasonable person would conclude. In my case why is the DWP so reluctant to enforce the Contract between the DWP and Atos Origin?

Atos Healthcare - A Global Company

Atos Healthcare (http://www.atoshealthcare.com/) is part of a global company quoted on the Paris stock exchange ATO.PA (Paris). The following are how Atos Healthcare describes itself.

Atos Healthcare provides independent medical advice to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We conduct disability assessments for people claiming a range of disability benefits including Employment Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Each year Atos Healthcare process over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice completing over 600,000 face to face medical assessments within our nationwide network of over 140 medical examination centres.

All our 1700+ healthcare professionals are fully trained to undertake disability assessments, are registered with the General Medical Council or the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and approved by the Chief Medical Adviser to the DWP.

Our performance is measured each month against key performance indicators that include the quality of medical reports as well as claimant satisfaction.

Through the introduction of the new Employment and Support Allowance, we work closely with the DWP to support its agenda of 'Work for those who can and support for those who cannot'.

As a division of Atos Origin, we combine the Company's expertise in consulting, technology and healthcare to improve the way care is delivered. Services range from lean service transformation, commissioning, hosting and software development, through to disability assessments, occupational health and front line primary care.

We provide medical advice and assessment services for those claiming incapacity and disability benefits. This gives the DWP the information it needs to make fast, well informed, decisions.

The Atos Healthcare Leadership Team include (October 2009):-

Mark Bounds, SVP and Managing Director Government and Health Markets

Nigel Beverley, Head of Health UK

David Wright, Chief Medical Officer

Stephanie Cade, General Manager DWP

Lisa Coleman, Service Delivery Director DWP

Atos Healthcare is owned by Atos Origin UK (http://www.uk.atosorigin.com/en-uk/) which in turn is owned by Atos Origin (http://www.atosorigin.com).

On 10th February 2009, a new mode of governance was approved at the Shareholders' Meeting with the establishment of a Board of Directors Thierry Breton appointed Chairman and CEO of Atos Origin.

11 directors appointed: Rene Abate, Behdad Alizadeh, Nicolas Bazire, Jean-Paul Bechat, Thierry Breton, Dominique Megret, Bertrand Meunier, Michel Paris, Pasquale Pistorio, Vernon Sankey and Jean-Philippe Thierry

According to Gartner, based on 2008 figures, Atos Origin is the fifth largest IT services company in Europe with revenues of 5,222 million Euro.

In the United Kingdom:-

In medical BPO, operating margin rate reached 11.4% with an improvement by EUR 3 million (at same exchange rates) compared to last year. Higher volumes within the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) contract for medical services and productivity earnings contributed to this performance.

Atos publishes financial figures Atos Origin 2009 Half Year Report.

I may have missed the amounts but I was not able to discern provisions for the adverse financial impact of a potential wave of legal cases due to the increasing evidence of negligence, neglect and incompetence in the operations of Atos Healthcare in the UK arising from the way it provides ESA healthcare services to the UK Department for Work and Pensions.

About WhyWaitForever

I have not regarded WhyWaitForever as having a campaigning interest but purely as a website which publishes facts supported by evidence, my case, Hansard etc, that others, Ministers, Select Committee Members, MPs etc, may use to ensure Statutes, Rules, Regulations and Contracts are complied with.

I regard the website as collating relevant information. It is true many campaigning interests do cite and/or copy parts of the website to further their aims. I am happy that the website is of help.

I believe WhyWaitForever does not put forward a view on how the Law should be changed though suggestions are made as to how the current implementation of the Law could be improved. In my view there should be no need to lobby or campaign to ensure that the existing Law should be complied with.

To paraphrase the Government, openness, transparency and debate are the route to progress.